Websites are normally hosted on a domain name that started with www (www.simplified.guide for example), though some prefer hosting it on a non-www or naked domain (a domain without the leading www or any other subdomain).

One way or another, you can configure your Apache to work on both and then force your visitor to use the one of your choice via automatic redirection.

An example would be to redirect visitors of simplified.guide to www.simplified.guide.

This can be done using Apache whether using the Redirect directive in your Apache's VirtualHost configuration or by using htaccess file.

Redirect naked domain to www in Apache using htaccess

  1. Enable rewrite module for Apache.
    $ sudo a2enmod rewrite # Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE variants
    Enabling module rewrite.
    To activate the new configuration, you need to run:
      systemctl restart apache2
    • Distribution with a2enmod support can simply run the command above without having to manually enable the required modules.
    • CentOS and Red Hat enables the module by default so requires no manual action to enable the modules.
    Options Debian, Ubuntu openSUSE and SLES Fedora Core, CentOS, RHEL macOS homebrew xampp
    a2enmod support yes yes no no no no
    Modules to install none
    Module name n/a rewrite
    Loadmodule directive n/a LoadModule rewrite_module <module_locations>/mod_rewrite.so
  2. Open or create a .htaccess file on the web folder where you want to set the redirection from.
    $ sudo vi /var/www/html/.htaccess
  3. Add redirect directive from within the .htaccess file.
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^!simplified.guide$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.simplified.guide/$1 [R=301,L]

    301 is equivalent to permanent redirect and you can use 302 instead for temporary redirect.

  4. Hard-reload the web page to test the redirect.

Redirect naked domain to www in Apache using Virtualhost

  1. Enable rewrite module for Apache.
    $ sudo a2enmod rewrite # Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE variants
    Enabling module rewrite.
    To activate the new configuration, you need to run:
      systemctl restart apache2
    • Distribution with a2enmod support can simply run the command above without having to manually enable the required modules.
    • CentOS and Red Hat enables the module by default so requires no manual action to enable the modules.
    Options Debian, Ubuntu openSUSE and SLES Fedora Core, CentOS, RHEL macOS homebrew xampp
    a2enmod support yes yes no no no no
    Modules to install none
    Module name n/a rewrite
    Loadmodule directive n/a LoadModule rewrite_module <module_locations>/mod_rewrite.so
  2. Open VirtualHost config that you want to set up the redirection from using your favorite text editor.
    $ sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf
  3. Add redirect directive within VirtualHost configuration.
    <VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName simplified.guide
        Redirect permanent / http://www.simplified.guide/
    </VirtualHost>

    permanent is equivalent to 301 redirect and you can use temporary instead for 302 redirect.

  4. Restart Apache for the changes to take effect.

Guide compatibility:

Operating System
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)
Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak)
Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus)
Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark)
Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)
Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish)
Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo)
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